Equity and Excellence: Chancellor Fariña Announces Progress on Reforms to Raise Achievement Across All Public Schools

  • Posted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 Updated: Fri Apr 20, 2018

Initiatives to Ensure Rigorous Learning in Every Classroom and Prepare More Students for College and Careers are Underway

NEW YORK – Chancellor Carmen Fariña today announced concrete progress made across the new initiatives to achieve equity and excellence across all New York City public schools, first laid out by Mayor de Blasio last September. These reforms will move the City towards a vision where, by 2026, 80 percent of students graduate high school on time, two-thirds of graduates are college-ready, and all students are reading in 2nd grade.

There is momentum across the eight critical initiatives in the Equity and Excellence agenda: Universal 2nd Grade Literacy, Algebra for All, AP for All, Computer Science for All, College Access for All in Middle School and High School, Single Shepherd, and new district-charter learning partnerships.

These commitments build on critical administration initiatives including Pre-K for All, which provides every 4-year-old in the City with a free, full-day, high-quality pre-K seat for the first time, and the 130 new Community Schools, which build partnerships and provide wrap-around services to eliminate barriers to learning for disadvantaged students. The Equity and Excellence initiatives will also continue to build on progress in New York City schools across multiple measures: a graduation rate over 70 percent for the first time that puts the City on track to reach its 80 percent goal, the lowest-ever dropout rate, and the highest-ever rate of students enrolling in college.

“These are bold reforms that will improve students’ education and futures by starting early, supporting strong teachers and rigorous curriculum, and engaging communities in the work ahead,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “There is tremendous progress already on these initiatives, and I look forward to building on that alongside educators and families to ensure an equitable and excellent school system.”

The Equity and Excellence initiatives – as well as the progress already made on each initiative and steps being taken in coming months – include:

Universal 2nd Grade Literacy: 
GOAL: To boost literacy, every elementary school will receive support from a dedicated reading coach, who will ensure all students are reading on grade level by the end of 2nd grade. Within six years, at least two-thirds of students will be able to read with fluency by the end of second grade, with the target of 100 percent literacy by 2026.

COURSE OF ACTION: This spring, the first cohort of reading coaches will be identified and schools will also begin preparatory work. The new reading coaches will receive intensive training this summer and, in September, they will be assigned to over 100 elementary schools in four high-needs districts – Districts 9 and 10 in the Bronx, and Districts 17 and 32 in Brooklyn. The reading coaches will initially focus their work on 2nd-grade teachers at these schools to begin closing the literacy gap.

Algebra for All: 
GOAL: Every student will complete Algebra no later than 9th grade, enabling them to reach more advanced math courses in high school, which will better prepare them for college and careers. By 2022, all students will have access to Algebra in 8thgrade, and there will be academic supports in place in elementary and middle school to build greater Algebra readiness.

COURSE OF ACTION: New, intensive training for schools to begin “departmentalizing” 5th-grade math – having their math instruction led by one or multiple teachers with expertise in this work – is taking place this spring, while new training for middle and high school teachers will begin this summer. Over 150 teachers in each grade from 5th to 10th grade will return to their classrooms across the City in September with expanded expertise in math instruction and strategies.

AP for All: 
GOAL: Every high school student will have access to a range of Advanced Placement courses. The first new AP courses will be added in fall 2016, along with prep courses at schools where students need to build AP readiness; by fall 2021, students at all high schools will have access to at least five AP classes.

COURSE OF ACTION: This spring, targeted high schools – that offer few or no AP courses currently and demonstrate readiness to begin offering additional AP coursework – will be identified to launch new AP courses in September. These schools will receive rigorous, subject-specific training for new and continuing AP teachers. Additional schools will be targeted for pre-AP programming to strengthen student and teacher readiness starting in the fall.

Computer Science for All: 
GOAL: Every student will receive computer science education in elementary, middle, and high school by 2025. 

COURSE OF ACTION: The City has released applications to add over 50 new middle and high-school programs in September, an expansion of the Software Engineering Program and the AP Computer Science Principles course. The City has also begun working to offer new CS education in elementary schools and new professional learning opportunities for educators citywide, and engaging the CS education community in developing a ‘Blueprint for CS Education’ to guide instruction across the City. More details on application and registration opportunities around Computer Science for All are being released directly to schools this spring. 

College Access for All – Middle School: 
GOAL: Every middle school student will have the opportunity to visit a college campus, enabling earlier exposure to college for all our students.

COURSE OF ACTION: This spring, there will be a middle school College Access for All pilot including approximately 20 schools; students at these schools will all visit a college campus and the schools will provide feedback on their experience to strengthen next year’s visits. The middle school program – which will also include new student and parent workshops – will be implemented in approximately 150 middle schools this September in Districts 5 and 6 in Manhattan; Districts 8 and 11 in the Bronx; Districts 14, 18, and 19 in Brooklyn; Districts 27 and 29 in Queens; and District 31 on Staten Island.  

College Access for All – High School: 
GOAL: Every student will have the resources and individually tailored supports at their high school to pursue a path to college. By 2018, every student will graduate from high school with an individual college and career plan.

COURSE OF ACTION: This spring, up to 150 high schools are being identified for new training and resources starting in September that will enable them to serve more students with high-quality college guidance. 92 schools are participating in the pilot free SAT School Day in March, which will be expanded to all high schools next school year.  

Single Shepherd: 
GOAL: Every student in grades 6-12 in Districts 7 and 23 will be paired with a dedicated guidance counselor or social worker who will support them through graduation and college enrollment.

COURSE OF ACTION: This spring, over 100 Shepherds will be identified and hired; they will receive rigorous training this summer to prepare them to support students academically, socially, and emotionally. Starting in September, all students in grades 6-12 in these districts – 16,000 students total – will receive support from a Shepherd.   

District-Charter Learning Partnerships:  
GOAL: District and charter schools will be paired through a new program to foster stronger relationships and sharing of best practices. These partnerships will include facilitated conversations among schools, organized visits, and sharing of resources and best practices.

COURSE OF ACTION: The first partnerships are being put into place at 20 schools this spring. One collaborative learning team of three “Mentor” and seven “Learner” schools will focus on sharing best practices around instruction for English Language Learners, while a second team will focus on restorative discipline practices. Additionally this spring, schools at four to seven co-located campuses will collaborate to build campus community and share best practices. All district-charter partnership schools will utilize the strategies and best practices they learn in creating action plans for the 2016-17 school year. Throughout the spring and summer, the DOE will identify additional opportunities for new collaborative learning teams, collaboration at co-located campuses, and collaboration among superintendents and charter management organizations to start in September.

To increase community awareness and ensure families are engaged in the roll-out and progression of these initiatives in their schools, the DOE has worked with community and parent leadership groups to develop family engagement strategies for each initiative. This spring, the DOE will bring detailed implementation plans to parent and community organizations for their feedback, distribute parent-facing materials in all DOE languages on the initiatives, and share strategies for how parents can be partners in the Equity and Excellence agenda to increase student achievement.

More detailed information on the Equity and Excellence agenda is available online at the Equity and Excellence website.

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